10 August 2012

Are Peugeot coming back on form?

Luke McCormack discusses his thoughts and opinions on the most recent cars from Peugeot, and what the future could lie ahead if the lion is roaring again.

PEUGEOT seem to be on a renaissance as of late. As seen with the RCZ, the 508 and most recently, the all-new 208. It's impossible to overstate the importance for the new 208 for Peugeot. They know this anyway and it's more than likely they are well aware of that. 

But for the past decade or so, the generation of 07-Pugs have not really been the ones we've loved like the previous 05 and 06-Pugs from the 1980s and 1990s. Elegant, understated cars with excellent ride and handling is what we've known and loved about Peugeots.

There was a time when Peugeot held the crown for making stylish, fun-to-drive cars with the likes of the: 205, 306, 106 and the 405. Today, Ford holds the crown for making drivers' cars. But it wasn't just the standard cars alone, the potential of Peugeot's cars were maximised and fulfilled with GTi, Rallye and S16 performance models. They put Peugeot on the map.

Peugeot's current chief designer, Jean-Pierre Ploue believed that Peugeot is about "elegance and athleticism". It's evidently seen with their most recent cars like the 208 and the 508. But some of their present and outgoing cars like the 308 and the 207 would tell you otherwise. Ugly, frumpy and overstyled cars that were at best, average mediocre Euroboxes as harsh as it may sound.

The most important car for Peugeot will be the all-new 208 supermini. That will account for most of the French firm's sales of their line-up of cars. With it smaller, lighter and sleeker than the 207, it's a good starting point in Peugeot re-learning to make elegant, fun-to-drive cars. There's also been a waiting list for the 208. If it's to be as successful as the 205 and the 206, they should be onto a winner.

Peugeot cannot rest its laurels on the 208. The upcoming mid range hatchback 308 replacement - which won't be the 309 - will also have a crucial role to play too. If anything, I'll probably expect it to be an upscaled 208. If they make Hot Hatches again that can give rivals Ford, Renault and Volkswagen a clean pair of heels.

Competition on the whole is fiercer than ever for car manufacturers. Peugeot don't just face it from those in Europe from Volkswagen, Fiat and Renault. There's also those from the Far East like Toyota, Honda and Kia which are also getting a chunk of their market share in Europe.

To conclude this, I'm convinced Peugeot can get its Mojo back. This remains to be seen and if they make Hot Hatches again worthy of the GTi badge - unlike their recent ones which were pretty lacklustre. That will be the real turning point for Peugeot.

Let me know if you think Peugeot are getting back on track...

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